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Propecia Side Effects Led to Son’s Suicide, Doctor Says

Filed May 30th, 2012 Laurie

Emergency room doctor John Santmann’s 22-year-old son, Randy, was impotent and despondent when he committed suicide. So depressed, said his father, that he was in a “zombie-like” state in the days before his death. Santmann blames the male pattern baldness drug Propecia for his child’s despair.

Don’t take this drug. It’s just like playing Russian roulette. It’s not worth it,” he said while participating in a protest by Propecia victims outside the New Jersey headquarters of Merck & Co., the drug’s manufacturer.

The protest began last week with 30-year-old Kevin Malley of Las Vegas. Malley launched a one-man hunger strike in protest of Merck’s unwillingness to admit it played a role in causing persistent and devastating male sexual side effects.

Nobody knows exactly why Propecia causes such severe side effects, but unlike other drugs whose side effects cease when patients stop taking them, Propecia’s side effects can be permanent because it affects the brain’s chemistry.

Dr. Michael Irwig, Assistant Professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine explains that “finasteride is different because it can actually change the brain’s chemistry. The enzyme 5 alpha reductase is present in many areas of the brain. It is rare for a drug to have the capability to persistently change the brain’s chemistry.”

Santmann says the permanence of his son’s sexual problems at such a young age were simply too much for him to bear.
“He wasn’t really depressed. He was in a zombie state. He didn’t want to live in this mentally crippled state.”

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